Kristin Hersh interview (finally)

Written by "Bones, Inner Sanctum, Sanctuary" on Mon, 18 Jul 1994 19:50:09 CDT.

Hello all!
It took a whole lot longer than I thought, and you will see why.  WARNING:
this is long!

This is the raw transcription of the interview I will be using for the
written review to be printed in Subculture.  It took place on July 10, 1994
at the Double Doors in Chicago just before Kristin's show.  Kristin, as
you will see, was very friendly and thoughtful and VERY funny.  In fact,
she joked through her set too. . .I can transcribe those sometime later

if anyone is interested.  It's funny stories about Ryder, her marriage,
and so on.  Playlist was:
Sparky/Sundrops/Me and my Charms/Gazebo Tree/?/Teeth/The Cuckoo/?/?/The Loon/
Amazing Grace (a cover version which was sweet!)/Your Ghost  2 song encore
of unreleased stuff.  (the '?' are songs I didn't recognize...possibly un-
released stuff).

Syd Straw joked through her set as well, and played the brand new "Black
Squirrel, which she only wrote the night before.  She wore lots of "shamanking
see-through" and Kristin, in a light green mesh summer dress joined
her with Ricky from the Plasmatics to play "Highway to Hell" for which
Syd played snare drum (at the soundcheck she would joke that she wanted
the drum to be as offensive as possible).  Kristin played her acoustic
set seated alone on a barstool with a candle and a beer on a nearby stool.

Anyway, here's the interview.  Enjoy, let me know what you think.

K=Kristin Hersh
S=Seth (assistant)

X:  Kristin?  You cut your hair!  I almost didn't recognize you!  I had to
check my CIA file on you to make sure it was you.

(Kristin smiles in confusion)

K:  Wha. . . ?
X:  Sorry.  It was nothing. I was just surprised your hair was so short.  It
looks great though.
K: Well, [one day] I went for a bike ride.  And it had gotten to the point
where it was...I would wash it and would stay wet all day until it was time
to wash it again.  It's like, what was the point?  It was a pain in the butt,
it was so heavy.  It was like my head was always:
(she tilts her head back to demonstrate)
And so I saw a beauty parlor and I thought, "Oh, a beauty parlor!  I remember
those since I was like 10!" [we laugh], so I was like, "Cut it all off!  Here's
20 bucks!   Make it worth my money!!"  So, she like cut it all off.  She cut it
up to here [points to her present length of hair].  I looked like Black Adder
or something (we laugh).  So, I had to go home like that and my husband [Billy]
just fell out of love with me _instantly_ and still doesn't like me very much
[she laughs].  So I'm like, (shocked), 'So our whole marriage is based on
HAIR?!?' (she laughs harder).  'I'm GLAD I cut it off!!!"

[insert intros here]

X:  I heard you last night on XRT [a local radio station].  You stay up
til 2 in the morning and then come here?!?
K:  Omigod.  I--I didn't know I had to ANYTHING.  It wasn't that big a deal,
but I asked Billy if I ahd any press earlier that morning and he said no,
that the whole day was off and I was like, "YES!"  So I took a bath when we
got to the hotel room and came out and Billy was asleepso I thought, 'Oh!
We're going to bed.'  I took like tons os sleeping pills.  Not real ones, more
like those Excedrin PMs.  Like Painkillers.  So I didn't know if they were
real sleeping pills or not--THEY ARE! (she laughs at the idea) I like, took
5 of them or something.  I was like, 'WOOOOO!!  BONK!' and then Billy gets up
and turns on the lights and starts making all these phone calls and is like
[with a ratty voice] 'What time is it?' and he goes 'C'mon, get up.  We gotta
go to XRT!' and I was like, 'What are you talking about?!?   My limbs don't
work!' [we laugh some more].So he took me to a diner and I just tanked all
this coffee, so there's this battle going on between Excedrin and coffee and I
was trying to play and Syd [Straw] is singing about fucking squirrels and
stuff.  I was like AARRGGH!!!

[Note:  Syd Straw had written a song that night about the black squirrels she
had seen in Canada, which is a country she was not very fond of.  "Poulee
McNuggets?!?  Why not just call them 'Chicken McNuggets'?" she would rant
during her set]

X:  Yeah, before we came up here we went to like 3 different candy stores
looking for bon bons.  (Kristin laughs)  And we couldn't find a single one.
K:  Wow, I wouldn't have remembered that if you hadn't said that. (laughs)
It's like remembering a dream.  We didn't get to bed until like 6:00 this
morning--cuz of all the coffee.  I didn't want to take anymore sleeping pills!
So, he was like babysitting me.  And the taxi driver was on so much speed
that he couldn't sit still and he was--he didn't drive in a straight line
either, so he's just like--I mean he wasn't weaving, he was actually turning...
it was like (Kristin makes car screeching sounds) all over the city.  So we
just drove for hours and he was like, "This is you on the radio?  This is
you?  AWRIGHT!" (more screeching sounds).
X:  lAst night you did a song that had a line like. . .'Don't you know
Jesus died?'  What's the name of that song, will it be released or what?
K:  "Gazebo Tree."   It's new for like the next acoustic record.  Although
Dave, my drummer, heard it and said, "Well, since you played it for me, I have
dibs on it (giggles).  I'm getting that for the Muses!"  I was like,
"Nope!  There's an acoustic record coming next and I don't have any songs for
it so I get it."
X:  There you go!  Someone in Seattle actually was asking that.
K:  Oh really?
X:  Yeah, he saw you in Seattle and he said that you played this and he didn't
recognize it at all, so he was curious and he really liked that song.
K:  Oh!  I really liked it.  Yeah.
X:  Yeah, me too.  Especially the violent strums. . .
K (laughs): Sometimes I feel bad saying "Jesus" so many times.  I never know
what people. . .if I offend. . .
X:  But you can say that on the radio!
K:  Oh, god!  Did I say THAT too?
X:  Yeah, you were like, "Can I say this on the radio?" (She sheepishly laughs)
And they're like (with a confused look)," uh. . . yeah, sure.  Don't worry."
(Kristin laughs again)
Alot of your lyrics--both Throwing Muses albums and your stuff--have alot
of references or similarity to Sylvia Plath poems like "Beestung" and
things like that.  We were just wondering, is that coincidental or. . .
K:  Yeah.  I don't know Sylvia Plath to quote her or anything.  I. . . I got
turned off of like suicidal poetry long before I had a chance to be turned on
by Sylvia Plath.  So, Tanya [Donnelly] used to read her and stuff. . .yeah.
And we [Sylvia] look alot alike and so people just kept saying that I
was really depressive and all this and it made me so angry 'cuz it cheated
the music so much.  I thought music was _so_ high and happy and they'd say like
(sarcastically) "What's WRONG with you?!?  Why are you so depressed?"  So, I,
um, it's hard for me to stomach things like that. Which,  I'm not judging her--
I am--but I don't feel...I don't feel good about it either (laughs).  I
just, um, have had a hard time keeping my projections to myself when it comes
to people being so dismal.
X:  But it's a good thing to write about, too.
K:  What?
X:  Music and things like that.
K:  Yeah.
X:  Do you think you'll work with Tanya in the future?
K (pauses in thought):  Well, I don't know.
X:  Well the general air in the area seems to be there's a Tanya/Kristin rift
going on right now.
K:  Oh, no.  We know too much about the music business.  Our sisterhood is way
too important for that.  I mean, they always say, they thought that the
Muses hated the Pixies or, you know, just 'cuz we were associated and we
weren't in the same band.  They just think that if you're not sleeping together
then you hate each other, no matter who you're talking about.  And so Tanya
and I adore each other and she's great--we have different approaches to music,
but, god, like DUH!!!  Walk into a room and you get a different approach to
music from everyone in the room so even though we're sisters, it doesn't
mean we're gonna [be in the same band].  I think it's a good thing that the
Muses split into like three good bands!
X:  When will the next Throwing Muses album be on its way?  I mean, it's
done and everything. . .but it's been pushed off?
K:  It's being mixed right now.  Um, yeah, and it's actually is being pushed.
I NEVER have pushed a Muses record before and they early released the Muses
records (laughs).  That's probably why they think I don't like Belly or some-
thing because it's so--I don't mean got to think I'm so stupid to
think that the Muses are a top 40 band, you know?  I never thought that.  It's
not why I make records, to sell records.  It's not my job.  It's somebody
else's job.  Um, Tanya comes from a pop perpective.  She loves doing photo
shoots.  She just loves that sort of thing.
X:  Like Spin Fashion.
K:  Yeah!  Exactly!
X:  We were just talking about that today.
K:  Fashion?  Spin Fashion?  I walked out of my Spin Fashion.
X:  Oh, really?
K:  You mean Spin magazine?
X:  Yeah.
K:  I, um.  Oh, that's right.  She did that one too.  She was like, yeah, she
said, "Oh, I'm so glad you did one too, 'cuz I felt really weird about this."
I was like (smirking), "Well (nervous laugh), I kinda walked out of it."
They had me dressed in fucking--it was called a "rock and roll wedding" and
I was supposed to marry John Stewart, the comedian, you know, who has that
talk show, the comedian?  And, um, John had to retape something that day so
they got that Possum Dixon guy.  They said, "Don't worry, your husband will
be _ultra-hip_."  I was like, "Oh!  Whew!  THAT's what I was worried about
(laughs)!  They're gonna get fucking Evan Dando or something and make me marry
S:  No, that would be Sassy magazine!
(Kristin cracks up)
K:  Sassy wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole (laughs).  So they got the
Possum Dixon guy and he was cute.  He was this sweet LA kid--he was adorable
and we had a great time.  But then they started to dress us up and, I was--
I mean the poor kid was wearing this like aquamarine tuxedo and they spiked his
hair up. . .it just didn't look like fashion.  It looked. . .like. . .it
looked like new wave!  It was just sad.
X:  Yeah, Jim Rose is in the background taking notes saying, "Hey!  I kinda
like this here for my freak show!"
K (laughing):  Yeah!  And you gotta get naked in fashion shows.  It's like
what happens.  You're the subject and you've got all these people around you
and they strip you over and over again and they look at you and go, "Hmmm. . .
no," over and over again.  And he's never done anything like this, poor kid.
And all these obnoxious models, like triple-d models, sitting with their
(sarcastically) little lacy ankle socks chain smoking and (Kristin groans).
One of them goes to him, he's over by the window trying to hide from all the
women in the room, and she goes, "Your nipples are awfully hard.  Are they
always like that or is it just cold in here?"  And he looks at me and he's
like (shocked), "Oh, god!" (laughs).  And I'm standing there and my outfit
is this fucking suede string bikini which is supposed to be like. . .supposed
to be like triangles on the nipples of a much more well-endowed woman--
to me it was like, it just fit (laughs)!  And lacy panties that said "bride"
in rhinestones across the crotch.  It's like...they kept calling it. . .
Your dress?  Your bridal dress?  What do you call it?  Your wedding gown?
Yeah.  And I'm like, "THIS is my wedding gown?!?"  So I started going, like,
weighing how many records this is gonna sell vs. how bad it is for my career
as a whole (laughing).  And, um, Billy just leans in and goes, "We're going
home." (laughs)  So we did and poor Tanya was all alone.  And that was the same
issue that they had me in going, "SHE'S LOONEY!!!"  I was like, "YEAH!"
"SHE'S OUTTA HER FUCKING MIND!"  I called Tanya and I go, "Oh, we've come
a long way, huh?  I'm crazy and you're in a fucking underwear suit!" (more
X:  You recorded this album in New Orleans in Dan's [Levoire] studio.  How
was it in this studio?
K:  Wonderful.  We're never gonna record anywhere else...and we're com-
pletely in love with the women who run the place.  The engineer Trina Shoemaker
and the studio manager, um, Karen Brady.  You know how there are only like
12 good people on the planet?  We just like found 2 more!  It's amazing.
We all lived there together.
X:  Yeah!  And one's a Brady kid!
K:  Yes!   Exactly!  We all lived there in these beautiful New Orleans
rooms.  There. . .there aren't any isobooths so you all play in the smae room.
There's the board, the drumkit, the bass, and the amp.  The guitar and. . .
my amp was far away 'cuz it's kinda piercing (laughs) but I just thought there
with everybody else--the only problem we had was my vocals ontp the kick drum.
You can't believe there's this rock band playing and the only thing that bleeds
into the wrong mike is my vocals.  I have the _loudest_ voice in the music
business apparently.  I've blown so many microphones.  It's like, priceless old
microphones would just blow the speaker and I'd just carefully put them back
(giggles).  I can't sing quietly!  It's like a quiet voice, a medium voice, and
a loud voice and I can't really seem to fake any of them (laughs)!.  So, I
have to stand like 12 feet away from the microphone whenever I'm singing loud.
X:  So, Michael Stipe must have been working hard on "Your Ghost" 'cuz
his voice does get louder than yours during the refrain.
K:  Yeah!  well, he has such a beautiful sustained voice (laughs).  I think he
just doesn't have to be 12 feet away from the mike.
X:  Yeah, that could be it.  Either that or he's throwing his voice.
K (laughs some more):  But that's as close as we've come to making that truly
live record we wanted to make.  "Red Heaven," um, sounded live, and it was
played live, but everything's in an isobooth, so isolated, so y'know, you
don't--we had to fake the sound of a band playing live by blowing everything
out and letting the drums bounce around the room and miking that and stuff and
I had like 4 tubescreamers and a fuzz wall tied up together with all these
Marshall stacks just to make the room kind of explode because then volume
becomes another instrument, y'know, and in that is a picture of a band playing
live.  This is, this record, doesn't _sound_ like that, it just has that
groovy feel.  I mean you can tell that people know each other's heartbeats
and, um, it's still produced in a very organic way.  I mean, we can't
be slick.  We wouldn't know how and we wouldn't want to be anyway (laughs).
Um, it's just um, it's like a . . .it's the next picture.  It's, it's, it's
a true progression from "Red Heaven," I guess.  It's not better or anything.
It's just, um, what these songs call for.  Anyway, your queston was when's it
coming out?
X:  Well, uh, yeah.  It's like, but you know. . .
(Kristin is laughing alot now)
X:  You look like right now, "Should I have taken all those sleeping pills?"
K (still laughing, jokingly remarks):  Am I babbling?  (then laughs more).
Um. . .the single comes out in November I think and the record's released
in January.
(Kristin pauses to ask Billy for a beer)
X (muttering jokingly to her):  Should've brought those bon-bons!  We
could've spiked it or something!
K: (laughing)  I can't believe I said "bon bons" on the radio! It was like
the sleeping pills talking!  I saw Fannie May [a candy store chain], though.
Now I know what that is.
X:  Yeah!  That was the first place I went to.  Of all places you'd think they
would have it, and they're like, "Oh, no.  We don't have them today."  I was
like, "What, are they seasonal?!?"
K:  What is a bon-bon anyway?  I don't even know what it is!
S:  It's not a truffle, it's not a meltaway--we went to this place Fannie
May, then to this tiny. . .
K:  It's like the science of bon-bons!!
X:  I know, it's like, if you buy one, is it just "bon"?!?
K (laughing hysterically): That was great!  That was great! That was great!
(acting as if she's ordering), "Box of 4 bons with that?"
S:  Yeah, but we couldn't find one to save our lives.
K:  Maybe it's not a real thing anymore.  Maybe it's like an Olde English thing
or something.
S:  That's what I thought, and then there happens to be like this like umfamily
 on the South Side [of Chicago] that owns this tiny chain and there's only
like four of them and it's called "Cupid Candies."
K:  Wow. . . !
S:  They just built one by my house.  It's the only new one--
K:  Cupid. . .(savoring the thought).
X:  Yeah, I thought she was calling it "cubit!"
K:  (laughs)  Yeah!  One square cubit of bon-bons!
S:  The only other stores were built inlike the forties and fifties.  My mom
would drive by, like, we'd be going somewhere and she'd be like (cooing),
"Your grandmother took me there!"  And then they opened this new one, and like
if there's such a thing as bon-bons, this place has got to have it.
K:  Oh!
S:  And they didn't.
K:  I think. . .it's not _that_ old though because it's like supposed to be
something that ladies watch soaps opeeras and eat.
S:  Yeah.  While wearing foo-foo slippers.
K:  Yeah.  Mules.
S:  There you go!
X:  Like Peggy Bundy!  [Kristin and Seth laugh]  That's the only other place
I heard bon-bons was on "Married. . .with Children" [semi-international
TV sitcom] of all places.
K: (laughs):  This is great. . .In Chicago it's "ban-bans!"
[we all laugh]
X:  So. . .someone in Toronto was wondering if you noticed any difference
between your fans in Europe and your fans in America. . .North America. . .
K (looking at me with that look of confusion):  Why do you talk to people
in Toronto and Seattle?
X:  This is a scary thing called "the network."
K:  Oh. . .
X:  It's like (I'm thinking of a real simplified way to describe it),
you know, those party line things that run on computers and stuff around the
world (good job, Bones.  You suck!)
S:  E-mail, Internet. . . (Seth obviously is doing a better job than me)
X:  And they were curious.
K (enthusiastically):  That's great!
S (muttering):  We talk to too many people. . .
K:  My hisband is the co-creator of a new online service called Virtuous.
X:  What's it called (I'm obviously baffled that she's into the net)?
K:  Virtuous.  ["oh"]  It's getting much more press than I ever got.  It's
incredible.  [She thanks the server for the Samuel Adams]
But I mean people are writing about the service.  Like MTV keeps like doing
stories on them.  And the Village Voice and the New York Times, Newsweek--
S: Details magazine is really big into that now.
K: Yeah!  It's wild.  So Billy does more interviews than I do!  He keeps for-
getting because he's not used to doing interviews.  But anyway, it's an online
service for signed and unsigned bands.  Mainly unsigned bands.  You know that
evil triumverate of um, radio, MTV, and say, major labels which determine
whether or not a band gets seen or heard?  This bypasses that.  This opens. . .
opens up the um, music--I guess you couldn't call it an industry--but our
generation's music, which. . .is for the most part unheard.  Like the Meat Pup-
pets, Soul Asylum, Violent Femmes. . .everybody--X!--have been playing for
like 10 years and nobody ever knew that that was their music.  They thought
what was being played on the radio was their music.  Um, and uh, this allows
you to uh, you can call up all of their graphics,um, a bio, and like hear
three of their songs, and at least 20 seconds of three of their songs.
S:  That's very good!
K:  It tells you where to get their music.
X:  Right.  It's like a CD-ROM thing where you can actually see a clip of
a video on your computer screen.
K:  Yeah.
X:  I guess Peter Gabriel is starting to do stuff like that.
K:  This. . .the download time doesn't make it worth it for them and they
don't--we don't..we don't also want to imply that a band should have a video.
Especially an unsigned band.  They're not gonna have a video.  And so it's
kinda not worth the download time, but, um, there are _beautiful_ graphics
and most of the bands need, uh, more than a demo tape. . .it costs 250 bucks
for a band to sign on. The user--it's a free service to them. . .I don't know
why I'm talking about that, sorry. . .someone in Toronto wanted to know. . .
X:...about your fans in Europe vs. your fans in North America.  I assume
the ones in Europe, would be, y'know, beacuse of the 4AD label being really
big over there.
K:  Yeah.  They see us so out of context.  They don't understand American
music.  Australians do for some reason.  They're real down-to-earth, I think.
X:  Probably because they're so starved for music over there.  They seem to
rely so much on imports.
K: Yeah, but it doesn't. . .It's so. . .I mean, imports doesn't really _mean_
anything anymore because it happens so quickly.  They, they don't have to
believe any hype.  They don't trust the British, which is a good thing
'cuz they're so into hype and so are the Europeans, um, and they don't they
don't buy it--they wanna see a band live and make sure their definition of
music--playing live--actually can compete with, uh, hype.  So, it's _wonder-
ful_ for us!  We couldn't believe there was a place like that.  And America
still loves hype--just usually American hype.  Um, and like I said, the
evil triumvirate (laughs).  In Australia, all they want you to be is a great
live band.  So you can be huge over thereand nobody here would know who you
are.  In Europe, I don't feel much kinship with the people like I do in
America and Australia.  In England, we have a _huge_ history, so we're
like famous there, and that makes it easier, but, um, I don't prefer play-
ing there just because they can get our records.  And also I like I don't feel,
um, I wouldn't be a 4AD fan, y'know, if I wasn't on the label (laughs), y'know
what I mean?  Like, I don't relate to those people.  I wouldn't listen to Dead
Can Dance and stuff, so. . .I don't know why.
X:  You're one of the first American bands on 4AD, right?
K:  THE first.  He [Ivo Watts-Russel] kept called us up, he would call us up
all the time and say, "This is a great demo.  I don't sign American bands."
X:  Yeah.  I remember reading that in NME for the 13 Year Itch celebration
(or was it Melody Maker?)
(Apparently Kristin said, "Fine.  Bye." and he kept calling doing the
same thing.  HE finally gave in.  The funny thing is Kristin didn't even know
who Ivo or what 4AD was at the time.)
K:  Really?
X:  How was that celebration, by the way?
K:  Great.  It was fun.  I thought, like, uh, (giggle), I mean, I dont want to
be rude to those people because (giggles), it's not nice, but I was really
worried there'd be a bunch of like 4AD fans, y'know (laughs, then says in
a nagging voice), "We're here to listen!"  And I headlined the first night, I
think, and the first 3 or 4 bands performing, it's like, oh yes, it was like
silent.  It was horrifying to see.  They were like clapping after every song
then it would be dead silent while the band was getting ready to do the next
song.  They were just gonna die, y'know, sweating. . .
S:  Like "Procession."
X:  Yeah, I guess so. (My thoughts went back to the travelling gothic music
festival I had made a pilgrimage to see just days before featuring Rosetta
Stone, Faith and the Muse, and others.  The audience was the same way)
(Kristin is confused)
K: ?
S:  We, uh, there was this touring goth festival, and I-I never really listened
to goth--I had roommates that were really into it--
K (interjects):  Who are still alive?
(we all laugh)
S:  We would have these wars, she would play something like that
(Syd Straw interrupts momentarilty to say hi to Kristin, to which Kristin re-
sponds, "HEY!  Look at you!  You're shamanking in see-through!" Syd echoes
off, "Sha-MANKING!!!!")
S:  She would turn up like Dead Can Dance or something and I'm really into like
ska and hard-core and I'd find something really obnoxious like Mighty Mighty
Bosstones or something and just. . .
K:  I mean, it's alright.  You shouldn't call it a band.  It's just not.
It's just too weird.  I dunno.
S:  Yeah.  I just think it's not fun  [Bones note:  HEY!  I like goth!]
K:  Yeah, that's true.
S:  I mean, it serves a purpose.  There are people who are really into it.
K:  They don't want to have fun, though, y'know?  It's not really what they're
looking for in music to do.
X:  Yeah, that's why there's so many mosh pits right here!
K (laughs): Yeah!
SHOW. . .
K: (laughing, then changing to a ratty voice):  "I wanna feel exactly as
miserable as I am! (laughs)"
S:  And find people who are even more miserable than me and put it into more
better words than I do!
K:  Anyway, mu point was that I went on and they were just _gorgeous_.  They
were _so_ cute.  They're like, "What happened to your hair?" and "How's Ryder?"
and "YEEE!!!!" or "Play this!  I love this song!"  They were so cute.  And I
can only assume the other bands didn't _want_ to be talked to.
X:  You think it'll be like that for the "All Virgos are Mad" thing in LA
in September?
K:  What's it called?
X:  "All Virgins are Mad?"  "All Virgos are Mad?"  The 13 Year Itch thing
in LA.
K:  Yeah, I know what it is.  I didn't know it was called something confusing.
X:  It's been bouncing around the net, and I only found that out yesterday.
K:  Yeah.  They kinda said, "You have to do that."  And I didn't feel like
travelling anymore, doing anymore shows, but it was Robin over at 4AD America
and I'm just in, _completely_ in love with him, so we said we'd do it.  I mean,
the band hasn't played together--well, I flew them over to London to do a sur-
prise show and they did an encore with me after my acoustic set.  And then,
we, uh, did a surprise show in Scotland after playing a festival.  It was
great.  We had like these (giggle) Scottish kids calling out songs and stuff.
What they used to yell at us. . .they would go (with a Scottish accent)
"Tattoo!!  Get your tattoo!"
(we laugh)
And, "Get off!  Get your get off!!!" and we're like, "What are they talking
[about]?!?  What are they saying?"  and everyone was so embarassed to tell
them that they were telling us to take our shirts off (laughs), so it went on
and immediately I just said, "I know what 'tattoo' means (laugh) and I know
what 'Get off' means, and I don't want to hear that.  Um, but then they
started yelling more, like, Scottish things at me, then I finally realized they
were yelling out _song titles_.  One of them was (with an accent), "Cocktail
Knife!  Cocktail Knife!!" and I was going, "We don't _have_ a song called
'Cocktail Knife'!"  And it was like, I looked at Billy and he goes, (as if in
revelation), "Cottonmouth," and he [the fan] goes (quiter with an accent),
"cottonmouth. . ."  They're just adorable!
X:  The artist that did your album cover. . .does he have alot of stuff
K:  Yeah.  Shinro Ohtake.  He's so wonderful.  He's so funny.  I-I could
never--me and Vaughan [Oliver] have never met up artistically and I was always
telling him to fuck stuff up and he just like had _no_ idea what that meant,
y'know, (with an irritated voice), "I don't _fuck_ things up!"  And everything
he does is so pretty and glossy and etheriel and I'm like, "That's what the
Cocteau Twins sound like.  We don't sound like that.  We don't--fuck it up.
With the Pixies, it would actually work as a great contrast, but with us,
it would just make us look kinda arty or something.  So, we ended up with these
half-assed covers where we would do something pretty and then make scratches
on it (laughs).  [Vaughan] hoped I thought it was fucked up enough.  And
he finally mailed me this book, and he said, "I think this is what you're
talking about."  I was like, "YES!"  It's where Vaughan and I meet is Shinro.
Shinro's this beautiful Japanese painter who is just hilarious.  Everything.
He's got these goofy little pencil sketches that he erases and draws again.
He's like--[got] little guys doing stuff. . .
X:  With these big eyes like all these Japanese cartoons.
K:  Yeah yeah yeah!  And little like cut outs of 50's kich and American
50's kich--which he makes them look so beautiful.  Y'know, 3 people with
surfboards. . .(giggles)
(Kristin drifts off in thought momentarily and points at my hardcopies
of questions from the 4AD mailing list)
K(enthusiastically):  This is very NEAT!
X (joking):  Yeah, it's like "HERE's the question!" (as I circle it, she
laughs) "This is where he's from, we don;t need THAT! (I cross out the
path info and she laughs again.  I then hand her a copy of the 13YI CD.
K:  Is that 13 Year Itch?  Who's that guy from?  Who's that band?  Red House
X:  Mark [Kozelek]?
K:  Yeah.
X:  I saw him like last September or so.  And he was totally what I was NOT
expecting.  I heard the song here (I point to "Mistress").  I thought
everything would be like that.  When I got there, it was like really really
powerful!  He could actually do this all solo if he wanted to.  It's like
every other song he played he'd be like, "Well, I'll play this song but then
I'll feel bad 'cuz then the band's not gonn aplay with me 'cuz it's only a
solo thing (she laughs) so can we do something else?"  He was taking requests.
K:  He was really nice.  Um. I heard that they were really depressive [and]
I thought, "Aw, that's a side of 4AD I just can't deal with.  But he was great.
Anyway, we did a photo shoot together [with Miki Berenyi of Lush for Melody
Maker or NME for the 13 Year Itch] and he was pointing at these old posters
that were on a wall behind us.  They were old Muses posters and stuff and he
was like, "Is that you down in the corner?" I was like, "Yeah," and he
goes, "Whoa!  Oh, I knew that was you.  I can tell."  I was like, "Well,
it's ME that's probably why (laughs)."  Sp I was like, "Yeah," and he was
like, "So when did you get that taken?" and I go, "Uh, I don't know, back in
like '87 or something like that."  It was an old picture.  And he's like,
"Why are they using it for this?" and I'm like, "What are you talking about?"
And i realized he thought that that was me (she points to the nude woman
on the cover of the 13 Year Itch CD).  He thought the whole time (laughs)
that I was the naked lady on all the posters everywhere.  I was like,
"Oh, yeah!  Like Vaughan can get me to take my clothes off (laugh)."
X:  Yeah, he's probably like, "Well if Spin Fashion couldn't make you do it,
what makes you think I would?"  [Mark's] supposeded to be really inwardly
dark or something.  NME had dine some joke on, uh, a conversation
with his mother or something.
K:  Oh, god.
X:  And he was like, losing a girlfriend or something.  And she's like
[ratty voice], "You took her to the cemetery again, didn't you?"  [Kristin
laughs].  He's like, "I'm sorry" and she goes, "Go to your room!"
K:  That's great!  They have done some hilarious stuff.  They had done a
2 page spread on how badly I dress once.  It was so funny.  They actually,
I mean, I guess, it was more sad than funny 'cuz they actually used my
clothes.  There were pictures of me wearing my clothes and with little arrows
like "FISHING HAT:  No one would be caught gardening in" with a picture of
me with a big smaile on my face.  And they did one where this feminist had
written in saying, "How dare you call Kristin Hersh a housewife.  She's a
professional musician.  Y'know, y'know, you never call Charles Thompson
anything _but_ all this stuff like that."  So, they had this picture of me
where they superimposed this housedress and like, uh, like a grey head of
curlers on.  It was like my little baby face and there's like all these
curlers and a housecoat (laughs) and then Charles was up on my wall in the
background crucified (laughs and stretches her arms out in demonstration).
I mean just lying there dressed as Jesus.
X:  Great. . .
[As I thank her for her time, I add]:  You're probably one of the first
people I've met from Rhode Island.
K:  I've had people come up to me and go, "Isn't that in New York?"
X (laughs):  Yeah, it's like actually an island 'cuz it's isolated from the
rest of the country. . .with motorcycle boots floating everywhere. . .
K:  Oh!  Did I say THAT?!?  On the radio?  Oh, man. . .
X ( I laugh):  That actually sounds kind of cool.
K:  It's true!  I didn't make it up!  Salt-stained motorcycle boots.  We all
have 'em now.  But no one has the same size. [note:  a boat just opened its
hull and dumped tons of them on the beach].
X:  I could just see that.  So THAT'S  how the government hides things. . .
K:  Yeah, well that's the good thing about living on a beach.  That happens
all the time.  We got like, furniture too.  It's all the same, so now we all ha
ve the same furniture.  Same boots and the same furniture. . .

Well, that's it.  if anyone is interested in the Subculture version, I will
post it as well.  Also, if you'd like a transcription of the XRT radio
interview, let mew know, and I'll post it.  but it may be awhile.  These
things are really time consuming. . .like I  have better things to do.


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